Just in time for MIPCOM, realscreen will soon be releasing its Global Pitch Guide, featuring the wisdom and tips of programmers and commissioning editors from around the world. In this preview, Animal Planet’s Rick Holzman (pictured) tells us the best way to pitch to the net.
WHAT HE’S LOOKING FOR:
Presently, Animal Planet is exploring more in the original fiction area, but for the most part, it is a factual entertainment and natural history network. The net mostly commissions its 300 hours of programming, with a small amount of big blue-chip natural history coproductions. Rick Holzman, Animal Planet’s SVP of programming and scheduling, says that the Discovery Communications network has a ‘very strong editorial point of view,’ which means less acquisitions and lots of involvement in commissions.
The network is currently focusing on blue-chip natural history programs, one in every quarter, with an aim towards reinventing the traditional natural history genre. Another growth area is ‘character-based shows that feature larger than life characters like Pit Boss and Pit Bulls and Parolees,’ says Holzman. Personal, dramatic stories about human-animal interaction, such as Confessions: Animal Hoarding, The Haunted and I Shouldn’t Be Alive are also working. All programming should appeal to a target age demo of 25-54 with a slight female skew.
There’s also an animal issues strand called ‘Animal Planet Investigates’ which has taken on puppy mills and dog fighting. For the most part, the network is looking for series of six to 10 episodes.
It ranges from $250,000 to $800,000 an hour for big ideas. ‘The idea sets the price point,’ he says.
HOW TO PITCH:
Producers have to register at the Producers Portal (https://producers.discovery.com/producersPortal/registration/registration.jsf). Animal Planet doesn’t take unsolicited pitches for myriad reasons, but once someone is registered, producers can contact the co-vice presidents of development, Marc Etkind (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Charlie Foley (email@example.com) and director of development, Sara Helman (firstname.lastname@example.org). Pitches come in every sort of form, from one-liners to fully pre-formed demo tapes and pilots. ‘The more information the better, but what we’re really looking for are the worlds and characters, both human and animal,’ says Holzman.
WHERE TO FIND HIM:
Realscreen Summit, MIPDOC, MIPCOM, Wildscreen, BBC’s Brighton markets and many more.